In a statement released yesterday, the Henson Company, said:
“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.”
The late puppeteer Jim Henson (pictured at ATV with friends in 1978) devised The Muppets in the 1950s, but they didn’t find worldwide success until ATV in the UK commissioned a family-aimed series in the 1970s with The Muppet Show. American telly executives suggested that, like associated programme Sesame Street, the show would just appeal to children and could only be aired in a daytime slot. Lord Lew Grade of ATV Network however saw the potential of a prime-time variety format and the Muppets arrived at ATV Elstree to create a series which ran for five seasons and over 120 editions between 1976 and 1981. Set in The Benny Vandergast Memorial Theatre the show made famous characters such as wimp Kermit the Frog and diva Miss Piggy.
The now defunct deal between Chick-Fil-A and the Muppet brand saw characters from current Henson owned television and film franchises feature in promotions at the restaurants including miniature figures given away as part of the kids meal deal. The president of the fast food chain – Dan Cathy – has been publicly vocal about his, and the chains, distaste at equality with press interviews stating he believes in ‘traditional marriage’ and his values are based around what the bible dictates is ‘right’. He however may be overlooking ‘gluttony’ due to his business interests.
The Muppet characters – now part of the Disney empire – have had their latest movie outing, aptly entitled The Muppets, released on Blu Ray and DVD last month.